Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a naturally occurring fatty acid that has long been considered a great weight loss aid. Though it’s found naturally in meats and dairy products, many choose to boost their intake with CLA supplements.
While studies on it’s effectiveness have resulted in contradictory verdicts in the past, the most in-depth study undertaken on the effects of CLA concluded that it does result in lower body fat mass in healthy adults. Great news!
If you’re in a hurry and we had to pick one out of the many available CLA supplements, we’d suggest you try out these CLA Softgels by BulkSupplements. Read on to find out more about CLA and the various options available.
- 1 What’s The Best CLA Supplement?
- 2 BulkSupplements CLA Softgels
- 3 NatureWise CLA 1250
- 4 MET-Rx CLA Tonalin 1000
- 5 Sheer Strength Extra Strength CLA
- 6 RSP Nutrition CLA 1000
- 7 What To Know About CLA Supplements
- 7.1 What is CLA?
- 7.2 What are the Benefits of CLA?
- 7.3 Side Effects of CLA Supplementation
- 7.4 Dosage Guidelines for CLA Supplementation
- 7.5 CLA in Your Diet
- 7.6 What to Look for in a CLA Supplement
- 7.7 Active CLA Quantity
- 7.8 Ingredient Quality
- 7.9 CLA Freshness
- 7.10 CLA Source Origin
- 7.11 Stimulant Content
- 7.12 Allergens
- 7.13 Vegan/Vegetarian Suitability
- 7.14 Final Thoughts
- 8 Sources
What’s The Best CLA Supplement?
Most of the CLA supplements you’ll find available online have a very similar list of ingredients. To get the most out of supplementing CLA in your diet, you should opt for a product that has a minimum of 80% concentration.
Aside from the concentration of CLA – be sure to keep an eye out for other ingredients that make certain brands unsuitable for those who are vegetarian or have allergies. For example, bovine gelatin is a common ingredient in supplement capsules. Below are what we believe to be the best CLA supplement brands for those looking to lose body fat.
BulkSupplements CLA Softgels
If you are looking for a way to boost your metabolic rate and muscle mass, these CLA supplements may be the way to go. The soft gel capsules contain ingredients that are lab tested to guarantee their purity and effectiveness. As with most CLA supplements, the conjugated linoleic acid is derived from safflower oil, with the oil coming from the seed rather than the flower itself.
You won’t find any soy, yeast, dairy, sugar, gluten or additives in this product. You will however find glycerin and bovine gelatin, something vegans and vegetarians may want to avoid.
One serving is considered 2 capsules, and this product can be bought in 100, 300, and 6,000 counts. You save money when buying in larger quantities, but keep in mind that this product has a recommended shelf-life of 2 years. Be sure to store them in their bag and out of direct sunlight.
NatureWise CLA 1250
This is a great product for people who look for natural supplements. The CLA is sourced from pure and premium CLA. It comes from non-GMO safflower oil that comes from certified sources. The manufacturer makes sure it is standardized to 80% pure and active. There is 1000 mg of CLA in each 1250 mg soft gel.
Due to the simple and natural ingredients in the product, it is non-habit forming. It is also not a stimulant and can be used for extended periods with no negative side effects, perfect for those who want to eliminate stimulants from their workout.
This product can be scanned with the Transparency app to see the details of their third-party lab tests. Other information that can be obtained on this app is where the product was manufactured and when. Manufacturers participate in this app voluntarily, and it goes a long way to show how confident they are in their product and practices.
NatureWise offers a money-back guarantee in case you do not like their product, or even if you decide that taking CLA supplements are not for you.
MET-Rx CLA Tonalin 1000
MET-Rx makes supplements aimed at bodybuilders and they have a reputation for making high-quality products. Their CLA is no exception, being made from all-natural safflower oil. There are absolutely no stimulants, either natural or artificial, so you will not experience any jittery feelings when using this supplement.
The other ingredients found in these soft gels are Gelatin, Glycerin, and caramel color. Although the extra ingredient in this product does not seem entirely necessary, it is not enough to really say this is not a natural product. This product is made in the United States from ingredients from all around the world.
Of the 1000 mg Tonalin CLA, 78 to 84% is active Conjugated Linoleic Acid. Although a range instead of a number isn’t ideal, the bottom number is nearly as high as other products. Another great thing about this supplement is that it comes in rapid-release soft gels. A serving is one soft gel.
Sheer Strength Extra Strength CLA
Women in the market for a weight loss supplement should strongly consider these CLA capsules over some of the more stimulating options on the market. The soft gel capsules are very easy to swallow and are considered non-GMO. This product is also 100% gluten-free. You can safely use this product if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. There are also no preservatives or artificial ingredients.
Another great thing about this product is it is made in the United States. There are no sugars or stimulants in it, making it great for people who are sensitive to caffeine and similar drugs. Each capsule contains 1500 mg of non-GMO safflower oil. Of that number, you get 80% CLA.
The great thing about this supplement is that they tailored made it for women. The extra CLA is intended to help burn fat in those “problem areas” such as the waist, thighs, and hips.
RSP Nutrition CLA 1000
This product is manufactured in a facility that complies with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP.) Each and every one of the ingredients is researched and tested to make sure it is both safe and effective. These soft gels contain 1,000 mg of a CLA blend, which includes safflower seed oil. This product does not give a percentage of CLA on the label.
There are zero stimulants in this product. The other ingredients in this product are Glycerin, Gelatin, and natural color. The gelatin is sourced from bovine, meaning this is not a vegetarian/vegan safe product. There are no dyes or fillers here. This is also a soy-free product.
Athletes can take this supplement knowing that there are zero banned substances found in it. You can purchase this product in 90 and 180 count. RSP manufactures their products in the United States. This product gets almost exclusively positive reviews online, making it worth trying.
What To Know About CLA Supplements
CLA, or Conjugated Linoleic Acid, is known to have several amazing health benefits. CLA is not something that your body naturally produces, but you can get it from consuming dairy products. Most people interested in building muscles and losing weight do not want to overdo it on dairy based foods, so opt for supplements instead.
This guide is designed to go over what CLA is, why people use it, what the potential side effects are, how to find the right supplement for you, and what the proper dosage guidelines are.
What is CLA?
Simply put, CLA is a fatty acid. It is most commonly found in beef and dairy products. You are probably wondering why you might want to put more fatty acid into your body. Unlike many other types of fat that clog your arteries and increase inflammation, this one is thought to provide a wide range of health benefits.
CLA is also classified as a trans fat, which again, is usually a bad thing. The reason CLA is still good for you is it can stop LPL (Liloprotein lipase) from doing its job. Since LPL’s job is to break down fat in a way that your body can store it, blocking it means your body ends up storing less fat. CLA tends to act more like an amino acid than a fat in your body, which is the main reason it is considered beneficial.
What are the Benefits of CLA?
There is a long list of reasons why people are incorporating CLA supplementation into their lives. Here are some of the most popular ones:
One of the biggest groups of people who use CLA supplements is bodybuilders. There have been numerous studies showing that it can increase muscle body mass. One important thing to note is that CLA is more effective for bodybuilders who are relatively new to the activity.
The main theory behind this is that experienced bodybuilders already have a great muscle to fat ratio. Another important thing to be aware of is that athletes in the studies that showed increased muscle mass were using relatively high doses of CLA.
High levels of CLA can help you boost your basal metabolic rate, which is a fancy way of saying how much fat your body burns while at rest. Whenever your body is using its calories efficiently, fewer of them are turned into fat. Many studies have shown that CLA is particularly good at burning belly fat. This is good news for people at risk for cardiovascular disease. Some studies, as well as users, report that CLA supplementation helps you feel fuller, longer. This can lead to you consuming fewer calories in the first place.
CLA has been proven to be a potent anti-inflammatory agent. This is incredibly important to people with a wide variety of health concerns. People with heart disease, depression, arthritis, asthma, heartburn, and high cholesterol can all see an improvement in their condition with a reduction in inflammation. Lower inflammation is also a sign that the body has experienced less free radical damage, which is linked to a lower cancer risk.
Regulate Blood Sugar
It is strongly suspected that CLA plays a role in insulin regulation. As a result, it can help people with diabetes or who are pre-diabetic. More research is needed before there can officially be a link between the two.
Improve Immune Function
Animal studies have shown promising results for CLA enhancing the immune system as well as acting as an anticarcinogenic. CLA can help your immune system in a number of ways, from regulating your hormones to controlling your blood sugar levels.
Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Improving your levels of CLA can prevent several types of heart disease. It is thought to reduce the risk of your arteries hardening, also known as atherosclerosis. Additionally, it can prevent the deposition of lipids and plaques in arteries. This can help slow down or even prevent many forms of heart disease.
There are several other areas that CLA has shown promise in. They include bone growth, reducing food allergies and sensitivities, and an exciting reduction in the risk of cancer.
Side Effects of CLA Supplementation
When taken appropriately, there are few risks of CLA supplementation. Taking too much of it, however, has shown to have a few adverse effects. The most notable is a build-up of fat in the liver. This can lead you down a path toward metabolic syndrome and diabetes. A high dose would be more than 6,000 milligrams per day. Since 3,000 milligrams is an effective dose for most people, this should never be an issue.
Enough research has not been done on the effects of CLA supplementation in pregnant and nursing women for it to be considered safe.
Dosage Guidelines for CLA Supplementation
Typically speaking, the recommended daily dose of CLA is between 3 to 5 grams per day. Many studies show the ideal dosage to be 3.2-3.8 grams daily. When shopping for supplements, you will likely see the amount of CLA given in milligrams instead of grams. Just remember – 1000 milligrams of CLA is 1 gram. You can take your capsules or soft gels however you want, but they should be taken with meals.
As with most health and fitness supplements, keep in mind that you will not see the benefits right away. Most commonly, it takes people 12 weeks to notice the impact of CLA supplementation. Since most CLA supplements are stimulant free, you can stack it with other supplements safely. This is commonly done with L-carnitine. Bodybuilders and people who are serious about weight loss are more likely to combine CLA with other supplements.
CLA in Your Diet
As previously mentioned, there is CLA in some of the things you are likely eating already. The exception to this would be for vegans and vegetarians. It’s found in beef, eggs, dairy, nuts, and even goat or sheep meat. Consuming these things is a way to raise your levels of CLA.
One interesting thing to note is that the amount of CLA is much higher in grass-fed animals than it is in grain-fed ones. Unfortunately, most of the animal products consumed in the West are from grain-fed animals. Eating enough grass-fed animal products to raise your CLA levels the way supplementation would be very expensive.
It is important to know that the CLA in supplements, which is derived from safflower oil, is slightly different from what you get from animal products. The CLA in supplements is not quite as effective, however, it is much easier and cheaper to get. You would have to eat about a pound of cheese, two pounds of beef, and drink close to 100 ounces of milk to see the weight loss benefits that 3-4 grams of CLA from a supplement can give you.
What to Look for in a CLA Supplement
You will want to make sure you are getting a high-quality product that is safe to take when shopping for your CLA supplement. There are several things to check out before making your final decision. They include:
Active CLA Quantity
You are looking for something that provides you with the correct amount of CLA to help you achieve your goal – most likely 3,000 to 4,000 milligrams. If the recommended daily dose is less than you want, it may have other ingredients that are unsafe in large quantities, so be sure to check the other ingredients before upping the dose.
Also, be aware that a product that has 1,000 milligrams of CLA may be “per serving”, requiring you to take 2 or 3 capsules to get to that number.
Generally speaking, your body does not need any artificial ingredients such as colors or preservatives. Always seek the most natural product you can while still getting the job done.
Since CLA is a fatty acid, it can oxidize quickly in high temperatures if it has been put in a sub-par capsule. If this has occurred, the CLA can actually cause health problems instead of fixing them. Look for products that have been made in the USA in a GMP facility. Also be sure to check for the expiration date. If the product does not have one, consider that a red flag.
CLA Source Origin
All supplements on the market derive their CLA from safflower oil. Your job is to make sure that a product has a listed minimum CLA content (ideally 75% or higher.) Many people also prefer a non-GMO product. You want a pure CLA over a proprietary blend.
Although not extremely common, some CLA supplements have caffeine or other stimulants in order to give people an extra boost for the gym.
If you are at all sensitive to these items, double check that your CLA supplement does not have them. They can be especially harmful to people with anxiety. In most instances we’d recommend you opt for a CLA supplement without caffeine, you can always supplement that separately if required.
If you have an allergy, you are probably already in the habit of checking for its presence in anything you take. Be sure your supplement was not manufactured in a facility that also processes soy, nuts, milk, or gluten if you are sensitive to those things.
Many CLA supplements have bovine gelatin listed among the ingredients. If you are concerned about this, you can find vegan and vegetarian-friendly supplements. They’re a little harder to come across, but they’re out there if you look hard enough.
If you are in the market for a weight loss aid that does not have a lot of harsh stimulants or other negative side effects, CLA supplements may be a good choice. As long as you dose responsibly, the benefits outweigh the risks by far. Just be sure to pair your supplement with a good diet and exercise, and don’t expect miracles overnight.
The effectiveness of CLA for achieving it’s purpose is much less in doubt when compared to other supplements such as DHEA or even Glutamine supplements.
For those looking into CLA supplementation for other health benefits, be sure to consult your doctor before changing your current treatment. While CLA shows amazing promise, more research is required before the whole list of benefits can be considered conclusive.
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